Be breast aware on Wear it Pink Day

Published: Friday 20th October 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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Today is Wear it Pink Day, which aims to raise breast cancer awareness. We spoke with HER Breast Friends, a local breast cancer charity, to find out more.

HER Breast Friends was founded in 2005 and now provides a diverse array of services to those who have been diagnosed and are living with breast cancer.

“We offer support and services to those who have been diagnosed, are going through the journey, and who are living beyond the disease,” Charity Manager, Jayne Beck, tells us.

“We don’t just focus on breast cancer; this is just the thing that has brought us together. The group is about feeling positive and uplifting each other.”

HER Breast Friends runs a unique wig bank service that is made up of over 1,000 hairpieces. This offers women an affordable way to access wigs, whether they are breast cancer patients or experiencing another form of hair loss.

“All of our wigs are donated. We wash them, treat them and sometimes restyle them. All we ask for is a £10 donation. The wig comes with a full kit, including a wig head and hair products. We also have trained wig fitters who volunteer their time.”

Another valuable service is their bra bank. In a similar way, women who have had to undergo surgery are properly measured by experts and fitted with a comfortable, new bra.

“We set this up as it’s quite hard to get hold of mastectomy bras in this area,” Jayne points out.

Meanwhile, their Buddleia Complementary Therapy room serves as the perfect space to relax and recover. Qualified beauty therapists volunteer at the centre to provide manicures, pedicures, facials, massages and reflexology.

“Anyone who has been diagnosed is entitled to our free programme of treatments. After this, we ask for a small donation. We rely solely on fundraising and don’t receive any support from the government, you see. However, we open our beauty room doors to everyone, not just breast cancer patients,” Jayne explains.

On top of this, HER Breast Friends organises a number of activities and clubs for ladies to get involved in. Their craft club on a Wednesday not only gives members a chance to make new friends and learn skills, but their work regularly goes toward supporting the charity.

“Our patient packs are given to anyone diagnosed with breast cancer in the area. They are full of treats, goodies and information about HER Breast Friends. We’ve recently started to add a heart-shaped cushion inside the packs – these act as a support after surgery. They can serve as a vital aid for when wearing a seatbelt or if you get uncomfortable when sitting and watching the TV,” says Jayne.

Another way that the craft club helps fellow members is their knitted boobies. Unlike weighted inserts that women often use to fill their bras after a mastectomy, these can be used the day after surgery and are a lot more lightweight and comfortable.

On top of all this, HER Breast Friends have a knowledgeable Breast Awareness Campaign Team that visits local schools, community centres and organisations to debunk myths surrounding cancer and to encourage people to run regular self-checks.

According to Cancer Research UK, 9 out of 10 breast lumps are not cancer. However, knowing your breasts and being aware of what is normal for you can help you spot any abnormal changes. It’s always best to be on the safe side and voice any concerns to your GP if you do find something.

The NHS website has an extremely useful page that outlines some of the key signs of breast cancer. These include changes to the shape of your breast, lumps or bumpy areas on your breasts or armpits, discharge from the nipple, rashes, or a difference in the way your skin feels and looks.

Make sure to also find out more about HER Breast Friends and get involved if you can.

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Published: Friday 20th October 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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